Johnny Hodges: Small Group Maestro

“Johnny Hodges had the most beautiful tone of any saxophonist in jazz.”
– Scott Yanow

“Johnny Hodges was one musician who never had to sell himself.  All he had to do was blow.”
– Budd Johnson

“His way of playing, whether smooth or passionate, his incisive attack and extraordinary skill in the art of glissandi, always made him instantly recognizable.”
– Boris Vian

I have talked to several people who, like me, were privileged to see and hear Johnny Hodges, and frequently they speak about his apparent lack of involvement. “He just walked to the front and played. I don’t even think he tapped his foot” and “He seemed slightly bored” are some of the comments I have heard over the years. Critics also commented about his demeanour: “the super-placid Johnny Hodges” is how George Avakian described the great saxophonist; Philip Larkin referred to him as “the inscrutable altoist”….

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